Eggs are nutritious, versatile and budget-friendly as a ‘go to’ meal starter!
What’s a ‘Go To’ Meal?
I am a firm believer in keeping it simple in the kitchen. A piece of fruit, slice of bread with peanut or almond butter, a cup of yogurt, a can of tuna, a bag of frozen veggies. ‘Go To’ meals are born from simple choices that support great flavors and great nutrition. They are the meals you can always remember, always enjoy and always find ingredients in your kitchen to make them – quickly.
3 Reasons to Embrace ‘Go To’ Meals!
There are many more than 3 reasons to use ‘Go To’ meals. Here are a few of my top choices: eat healthfully; eat with less stress; eat within your budget. Just because they are simple, though, don’t think of ‘Go To’ meals as boring. Switching the kind of fruit or vegetable, for example, is easy to do and it will keep your meals fun.
3 ‘Go To’ Meals to Try!
1. Breakfast ‘Go To’ Meal: Strawberries + Whole wheat toast + Boiled egg + 1% Milk or yogurt + coffee/tea
2. Lunch ‘Go To’ Meal: Cheese/Tomato/Cucumber Wrap on Whole grain tortilla + Baby carrots + Apple + Water
3. Dinner ‘Go To’ Meal: Whole grain spaghetti with Marinara Sauce + Turkey sausage + Green salad with avocado and light vinaigrette + 1% Milk or Water
What’s your favorite ‘Go To’ meal?
A salad made from broccoli, apples, raisins, sunflower seeds, sweet red pepper, radishes, avocado & dressed with olive oil, turmeric, garlic, lemon juice features tasty Mediterranean flavors!
It’s Mediterranean Month!
If you want to follow a healthy eating plan from around the world, a smart choice is Mediterranean style. Flavors are fresh, fruits and vegetables are plentiful and the net result is very healthy ‘fuel’ for your body. When I lived in Italy 7 years ago from September – December, I was really excited about what I could buy at the grocery store and open-air markets. Boy, was it fun cooking there!
Grocery Shopping for Mediterranean Foods in the USA!
It’s all good news if you want to find Mediterranean foods in American grocery stores these days. Look around for simple foods that fall into basic categories such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seafood, yogurt. Then, don’t leave out 3 other characteristic choices: garlic, olive oil and red wine.
Planning A Mediterranean Meal & Shopping List!
1. Think of a Mediterranean style meal: Broiled fish with White bean or Chickpea Salad, Steamed Asparagus, Crusty bread, Figs.
2. Check your pantry: If you have a can of beans or chickpeas, use them. If you have dried figs, use them. If you keep olive oil and dried herbs as staples, use them. There’s no need to purchase what you already have on hand.
3. Write your list: Fish recipe – fresh or fresh-frozen fish of choice; fresh lemon; fresh parsley; Bean or chickpea salad recipe – fresh garlic, celery or fennel, parsley; Fresh asparagus recipe – fresh asparagus; Crusty bread – buy the day you eat it; Figs for dessert – pouch of dried figs.
A Healthier Grocery Trip!
Healthier groceries are the starting point for healthier meals and snacks. To feel better, improve your health and do so deliciously, a firm stand at the grocery store makes sense. Make the switch now by using this Mediterranean shopping list, and as always, keep it simple at mealtime! Please join me on Facebook for daily tips and shopping inspiration of the good-for-you variety!
What’s a Mediterranean food you’ll add to your grocery cart this month?
My delicious lunch plate at a local, sustainable farm was home-grown arugula salad, egg, potatoes, chicken.
April is Here – Get Ready for Locally Grown Food!
It’s a big month. April is Garden Month and right around the corner, on April 22, is Earth Day. Though I didn’t grow up on a farm, as a kid I would dream about how wonderful that could be – the animals, the fields, the ‘homemade’ food. As an adult, I am a huge fan of local farmers who work very, very hard so that I can eat the best vegetables, fruits, eggs, honey, meat, chicken and more.
Local Food Has a Field-Full of Advantages!
What’s so great about local food?
Its awesome flavors. If you’ve never tested that, I recommend you visit a local farm or farmer’s market and buy some Spring leafy greens such as spinach, kale or chard, grown in or near your county. Then, buy the same thing at your local grocery store, grown hundreds of miles away. Finally, cook the greens in 2 separate pans by lightly sauteing with a touch of garlic, olive oil and the tiniest pinch of salt. Taste and judge.
Its ongoing support of community. Farmers are an important group in the community. The same way you like to buy hardware supplies from the local business or eat at a hometown restaurant, you can support local agriculture. Also, the farmers typically purchase seeds and supplies, and hire local employees which helps your community.
Its respect for the Earth. Many local farms use sustainable systems to grow food and/or raise livestock and they sell locally. When this happens, the Earth benefits by fewer man-made chemicals entering the air, soil and water. Earth-friendly composting, crop selections and rotations put less stress on the environment, too. And, a smaller carbon footprint results when the farm harvest is distributed near by.
Get On-Board with Local Food!
There are simple ways to enjoy the flavors and support the cause. Get out to your local farmer’s market, buy a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership or plant a garden in your yard. Then, savor your harvest. Email me if you need help figuring out how to prepare locally grown vegetables and herbs or need advice on a CSA or farmer’s market choice. I’ll be happy to help!
Which farm or farmer’s market will you try this week?
Ready to roast: sweet potatoes, parsnips, red and green Bell peppers and red onions.
Choose Any Veggies!
The first time I ate roasted veggies, it was a mix of sweet Bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. So, I repeated this combination with delicious results. Next, I branched out and started experimenting with other flavors, textures and colors. Now, I basically cut into chunks whatever I have on hand when the mood strikes for a tasty meal or side item of roasted veggies. You can do the same.
Roasted Rainbow Veggies Recipe!
This recipe offers sweet flavors of healthy vegetables. Kids can help by washing the veggies, stirring them up with oil and seasonings and scattering them on the pan, with supervision.
Makes 6 servings
2 medium Sweet potatoes, washed, skin left on
1 medium Onion, any kind
2 medium Yellow squash or zucchini squash, or one of each
2 tablespoons Olive oil
- Wash all vegetables. Peel off outer skin of onion.
- Preheat conventional oven to 425 degrees.
- With a cutting board and knife, cut up vegetables into bite-size chunks. The onion may be cut in half and then sliced.
- Place cut vegetables into a large bowl, add oil, salt and pepper. Stir so that everything becomes coated.
- Scatter vegetables in a large baking pan or cookie sheet with sides, about 17 x 11 inches. Spread out in one layer.
- Cook for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, turn over vegetables.
- Cook another 10-15 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork. Do not overcook or veggies may become mushy.
Nutrition per serving: 90 calories; 4.5 gm fat; 0.5 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 40 mg sodium; 12 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm fiber; 2 gm protein; 150% DV vitamin A; 35% DV vitamin C; 22% DV calcium; 4% DV iron
Money Saving Tip: Use other vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus and butternut squash, when they are on sale.
What vegetable combination will you try?
This ‘earthy’ style of decoration inspired me at a Vienna, Austria Christmas market!
Holiday Food Decorations!
The expression, We Eat With our Eyes, must have been made for December. I always enjoy looking at beautiful, creative decorations and those made with food are my favorites. In the example on the left, there are dried citrus slices, nuts, berries and tiny seeds that, together, make a fun hanging decoration with wonderful aroma.
An easy way to add bold flavor to your December foods is with spices. Cinnamon is something you can sprinkle onto a fresh or baked apple. Nutmeg is delicious sprinkled onto a pumpkin pancake or baked custard made with lower fat milk. Or try pumpkin pie spice as an ‘everything sweet spice’ because it combines cinnamon, nutmeg and a little bit of ground cloves. Very versatile.
A 3-Step Plan for Healthy Inspiration – in the Kitchen!
We can all benefit from kitchen inspiration because cooking simple and healthy meals at home is the path to feeling great and staying healthy – within your budget. As some dietitian friends say, Would you rather pay the grocer or the doctor? I’d rather pay the grocer!
Step 1: Make up your mind to cook and eat healthier.
Step 2: Reach out to a registered dietitian (RD). This is your nutrition expert with expert kitchen tools for you.
Step 3: Practice, practice, practice. Your new, healthy habits will take focus and hard work. As your new pattern settles in, you will begin to feel the results and live a healthier life – forever.
What inspires you to cook and eat healthier in December?
Homemade Lentil Soup ‘hits the spot’ when you need a tasty and nutritious dinner!
Soup is Comfort Food!
If I could invent healthy comfort food, it would be a bowl of homemade soup and I would eat it every day. Seriously. I love to make homemade soup and to eat it – frequently. Do you?
Soup is Versatile!
There is a whole world of homemade soups and I enjoy being creative when I make them. It’s hard to say which are my favorites because all are good options but, if I had to, I’d choose lentil, pumpkin and vegetable-beef. My lentil soup is shown at the left.
Soup Ingredients are Healthy & Cheap!
Now, here’s the clincher – homemade soup is really cheap to make and really healthy to eat. If you think it through, you’ll agree because the ingredients I’m talking about are garlic, onions, olive oil, green veggies, potatoes, pumpkin, rice, fresh herbs and more. Soup made with broth is a healthy mix of all of these.
Homemade Soup is a Smart Goal!
If you’re new to the idea of making your own soup from basic ingredients then take a look at this easy recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup or this easy recipe for Homemade Lentil Soup and try one. Your time commitment to mince and chop ingredients is normally 20 minutes or less. Then, soup cooks itself as it simmers at a low temperature and develops savory flavors. So, make homemade soup your goal as one step toward a healthier lifestyle. You’ll be glad you did!
What kind of homemade soup will you make this week?
The Magic of Thanksgiving!
This colorful market in Vienna, Austria features cabbage, sweet peppers & spinach.
Thanksgiving is near and dear to my heart, and to my stomach. I adore the family focus of this all-American feast and the tasty foods it brings to the dinner table. In my family, before eating our feast, we go around the table and everyone says what they are thankful for. For me, this sets the mood for a wonderful evening together!
The Healthy Vegetables of Thanksgiving!
Vegetables make a great Thanksgiving even better. The colors, flavors and good nutrition add up to a feast for the eyes and a healthy body. Here are a few ideas for you, 2 per vegetable:
Cabbage: 1. Boil it in 1-2 inch wedges until tender, season with a little oil and caraway seeds; 2. Finely shred it, mix with shredded carrots and dress lightly with oil/vinegar/salt/pepper.
Sweet Peppers: 1. Remove seeds and roast in the oven at 400 degrees, in chunks, with a drizzle of oil and a favorite dry herb until tender; 2. Remove seeds and cut into thin strips, then toss with oil/vinegar/salt/pepper.
Spinach: 1. Trim off stems. Steam leaves on stovetop, drain excess water and sprinkle with grated lemon zest; 2. Trim stems. Make a salad with torn leaves plus one-bite tomatoes and capers. Dress with choice of light dressing.
The Giving Spirit of Thanksgiving!
While many of us will be eating a Thanksgiving feast this Thursday, many others will not. There are ways to give to those less fortunate at Thanksgiving, and getting kids involved with giving is also something to consider.
What vegetables will be at your healthy Thanksgiving feast?
Mushrooms come in many sizes & varieties so be sure to try them all!
Mushrooms & Pennsylvania
When I went to middle school, my family moved from Washington State to southeastern Pennsylvania. That was when I began learning about mushrooms. My mother got into the habit of giving a big basket of fresh mushrooms as a holiday or special occasion gift which might sound odd, unless you know Pennsylvania mushrooms!
Mushrooms 101: Nutrition & Health
Like so many veggies, mushrooms have a strong nutrition resume. Some of their top nutrients include selenium, copper and potassium along with fiber and health-enhancing phytochemicals. Mushrooms are low in calories and a good source of fiber, too.
Mushrooms 201: Selection and Storage
Taking time to select and store mushrooms correctly is a first step to enjoying this delicately-flavored veggie. As with all veggies, freshness is a top priority so pick out firm, evenly colored mushrooms without spots or slime. Also, store them for only a few days to preserve their quality.
Mushrooms 301: Cooking
Mushrooms are full of water like so many veggies and cooking them develops a mildly savory flavor. The best way to do this is to add either a small amount of vegetable oil or wine to your pan before sauteing the mushrooms. They will turn golden brown within a short time at medium-high heat. Mix together 2 or more varieties of mushrooms for a rich and satisfying meal. Cooked mushrooms work well added to red sauce over pasta or as a meatless burger with melted cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Get Started with Mushrooms in Your Kitchen
Mushrooms belong in everyone’s meal plans. Buy mushrooms fresh and try these ideas: slice them and eat raw over your salad; cook them whole in a little wine as your dinner side item; slice them and stir-fry with other veggies for your dinner entree. The time to get started is now!
What new mushroom recipe can you invent?
Late summer means a new season of fresh apples is here!
A New Season of Fresh Apples
In North Carolina, August signals the beginning of a new season of awesome, healthy, delicious apples. If you love apples, like me, this is the month to get out to a Farmer’s Market or the apple orchard itself for the freshest apples. Eating an apple a day is a very smart way to feel great and stay healthy!
A Contest for Kids – Win an Apple T-Shirt
Washington State grows a lot of fresh apples as do North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan. If you think it would be cool to win a t-shirt with a big apple on it, then kids can enter an apple writing contest.
A Super Simple Apple Recipe
If you need a new recipe for your healthy kitchen then try this one….and, get the kids to help!
Fresh Apple Salad
This is a go-to side dish for any meal! Kids can help by washing the apples, squeezing the lemon, stirring and sprinkling the salad, with supervision.
Makes 4 servings
3 medium Apples, any kind, any color
1 teaspoon Lemon juice, squeezed from a fresh lemon
3/4 cup, 6 ounce cup Lemon or lime yogurt, made from nonfat milk
1/4 cup Plain yogurt, made from nonfat milk
1/4 Ground cinnamon
- Wash apples and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Cut apples in half. Cut in half again.
- Remove core and seeds from apples.
- Cut apples into bite-size pieces and place into a medium or large bowl.
- Squeeze lemon juice all over the apple pieces. Stir up with a big spoon.
- Measure and add yogurt (both kinds) to the apples. Stir gently.
- Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the salad.
Nutrition per serving: 80 calories; 9 gm fat; 5 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 500 mg sodium; 3 gm carbohydrates; 0 gm fiber; 15 gm protein; 4% DV vitamin A; 2% DV vitamin C; 25% DV calcium; 4% DV iron
What is your favorite meal or snack recipe using fresh apples?
Corn on the cob is sweet & satisfying, especially in the summer!
The History of Corn
Corn on the cob has been a favorite of mine since way back. What about you? Did you know that corn originated thousands of years ago in central Mexico? Today, it is a major food staple around the world.
Ways to Prepare Corn
Corn is a colorful, nutrient-rich, versatile grain that lends itself to hot and cold recipes. Here are 2 quickies:
1. Corn Pancakes: Make a simple pancake batter from baking mix or scratch ingredients. Before cooking, add a cup of corn kernels. Cook.
2. Grilled Corn: Peel off corn husks. Sprinkle a little water onto each ear and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Grill, turning, for 6-8 min.
Family-Pleasing Corn Recipes
Try these in your household for ‘wow’ flavors and great nutrition, too:
1. Roasted Corn, Poblano and Cheddar Pizza
2. Spicy Corn
3. Corn and Yellow Squash Chowder
Take A First Step
Invest in your good health and the good health of your family -beginning today! I have easy-to-use meal plans and recipes. And, I offer ongoing ideas, tips and tiny recipes to create a healthy kitchen.
How will you use fresh corn in your healthy kitchen?
Simple flavors from garlic, lemon, kale, tomatoes, parsley, oregano and rosemary make healthy Mediterranean meals!
Mediterranean Meals Begin with Mediterranean Ingredients
I often recommend meals made from Mediterranean ingredients. Why? They are full of flavor, full of nutrition and easy to learn to cook. Also, they use familiar ingredients that you can find quickly and inexpensively at an American supermarket. For a start, look at the ingredients in my photo at the left.
More Mediterranean Ingredients
To learn more ingredients that are used in the Mediterranean area of the world, think of the flavors of Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, France, North Africa and what grows locally there. The list includes olives and olive oil, fresh seafood, colorful fresh vegetables, colorful fresh fruits, nuts, dairy yogurt, simple grains, lentils, beans and more. A Mediterranean shopping list may come in handy.
Here are two ideas for quick and easy meals for your family table. Remember to make enough for 2 meals and then refrigerate for a repeat meal 2 days later. This will save you a lot of time and effort while serving up excellent nutrition.
Meal 1: Cold Pasta salad – Cook pasta, cool. Add cut up tomatoes and cucumbers, shredded carrot, olives, minced parsley and oregano. Top salad with canned tuna or salmon. Dress with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, dash of salt and pepper.
Meal 2: Eggplant ‘Stew’ – Wash and cut up eggplant, tomatoes, onion, zucchini, sweet Bell peppers into 1-1/2 inch chunks. Put into pan, add a very little water and cover with lid. Cook on low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring to prevent sticking to pan. When all vegetables are tender, add canned, rinsed, drained chickpeas and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, basil.
Resources for Your Healthy Kitchen
A healthy kitchen begins with fresh ideas and inspiration. Learning about easy meals and ingredients to stock is the next step. Practicing what you learn is the next step. Start your journey to more flavor and better health today. LIKE my Facebook page and INVEST in simple kitchen meal and recipe e-books. Your good health and your family’s is well worth it!
Garlic, basil and tomatoes are a great start for healthful, Mediterranean flavors!
Flavors from the Mediterranean
Do you like the flavors of Italy? Do you like the flavors of Greece? Do you like the flavors of Turkey or Spain? All of these countries have coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea and, because of this, they share similar climates and some similar food ingredients and flavors.
Menu Planning from the Mediterranean
Whether or not you live near the Mediterranean Sea, you can enjoy eating a meal that is traditional to that area. It’s fun, too. Maybe you’ll want to plan a simple pasta dinner with red sauce made from garlic, basil and tomatoes. Or maybe you’ll plan a Turkish meal with beef or lamb shish kebab over rice. Both are delicious!
Celebrate Simple from the Mediterranean
Invest in yours and your family’s good health by celebrating simple, homemade cooking from the Mediterranean. Boiling pasta and making a simple sauce for dinner can be done with a little planning ahead, an easy recipe, and an efficient grocery shopping list. Grilling a shish kebab dinner can be done in similar steps. On the side of your plate, add a simple green vegetable and enjoy an orange, apricot or kiwi as a simple dessert.
Everyday Tools for Your Healthy Kitchen
Everyone needs a simple plan for everyday tasty and healthy meals for your home kitchen. LIKE my facebook page to get tips and ask questions; invest in my kitchen tools for meal plans, shopping lists and easy-to-fix recipes.
Picking out fresh broccoli at the supermarket is easy, or ask the kids to help!
Broccoli with Cheese
Here’s a broccoli recipe the whole family will love!
Kids can help by measuring the ingredients and sprinkling the cheese, with supervision.
Makes 6 servings
4 cups Broccoli
1 cup Cheddar cheese, natural, shredded or grated
1 tsp Paprika (optional, adds natural color)
- Wash broccoli well in cool tap water. Shake off extra water.
- Trim any dry ends from broccoli stalk.
- Cut entire broccoli bunch into bite-size pieces.
- Place into a microwave-safe dish and add about ½ inch water.
- Cover dish with microwavable lid or waxed paper.
- Cook on high until tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes depending on power of oven.
- Drain water and place broccoli into a serving bowl.
- Sprinkle with cheese and paprika.
Nutrition per serving: 100 calories; 7 gm fat; 4 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 140 mg sodium; 4 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm fiber; 6 gm protein; 25% DV vitamin A; 60% vitamin C; 15% DV calcium; 4% DV iron
Money Saving Tip: Buy frozen broccoli for this recipe. Be sure to adjust the cooking time.
Time Saving Tip: Buy a bag of washed and cut broccoli on a really busy day.
Cooking Tip: Try making this recipe using a combination of broccoli and cauliflower for a change.
Easy Tools to Simplify Your Kitchen – If you’re ready to try a simpler way to tasty and healthy meals and recipes for you and your family, then try these very affordable e-books. They will help you get in-and-out of the kitchen fast and please everyone at the table!
A colorful & fresh stirfry can be tomorrow's leftover dinner!
Make Leftovers Part of Your Plan
Planning meals will save you time and money and make it easier to eat healthy. You will probably feel less stress, too, as you drive home from work and know what’s for dinner. If you’ve never planned a leftover meal, then here’s how:
Plan a Leftover Dinner Everyone Will Love
1. Find a simple and nutritious recipe.
2. Write down the ingredients you need for the recipe, after checking your dry pantry, fridge and freezer to see what’s on-hand already.
3. Buy twice as much of each ingredient as you will need to serve your family the recipe for dinner.
4. Make a double-batch of your simple recipe.
5. Enjoy dinner and then put the leftovers into a covered container in your fridge. Enjoy your leftover dinner, gently reheated, 2 days later.
Grocery List for Spring Stir-Fry - shown above
Frozen uncooked shrimp; fresh asparagus; fresh zucchini; fresh red Bell pepper; onion; brown rice; stir-fry sauce made by mixing soy sauce with a small amount of sesame oil, minced fresh garlic and a pinch of brown sugar.
Kale is full of flavor and good nutrition and it's low in cost!
Get to Know Kale
Since mid-March, spring greens are popping out of the ground for us in the Southeast. I used to think kale was just a pretty, green garnish that showed up on my plate in a restaurant. But now I know – kale is nutritious, easy to cook, full of flavor and it fits perfectly into my homemade meals.
Kale Saute – Easy as 1,2,3
1. Buy a bunch of fresh kale, wash it in your sink and cut out the thick stems halfway up each leaf. Chop roughly.
2. Add 1 Tbsp oil and 1 tsp minced fresh garlic to a large pan on the stove. Pile the still-wet kale on top. Sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes and salt. Cover pan with a lid.
3. Turn stove burner on to medium heat. Listen for a little sizzle after 2-3 minutes and then set timer for 8-10 min. Using tongs, gently turn over kale every 2-3 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp water if it sticks. Enjoy with your meal.
Kale for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
1. Add sauteed kale to your breakfast omelet.
2. Enjoy a bowl of vegetable soup (homemade or not) with some added sauteed kale for lunch.
3. Include a generous portion of sauteed kale on your dinner plate.
Just a few carefully chosen kitchen tools can make cooking quicker and easier!
Why Tools ?
I’m not overly ‘handy’ at fixing things around the house, but I have a basic toolbox — pliers, hammer, screwdriver, nails, picture hangers. Like a good carpenter, I couldn’t get the job done without them. In my kitchen, I have a toolbox, too. Do you?
Kitchen Tools Make the Job Quicker
There are hundreds of kitchen tools out there. Some cost a lot and do a little. Others cost a little and do a lot. I prefer to spend my money on tools that I can use day-after-day and those that help me get the job done quickly and easily. They are tools that I cannot do without.
5 Tools for Every Kitchen
1. Wooden spoon – to stir soup, stew, pasta, muffin batter
2. Tongs – to flip over chicken or fish, toss salad, serve vegetables, handle anything that’s hot
3. Can opener, the kind that folds under the sharp edge as it opens – to open all canned foods
4. Grater, the kind with coarse and fine grating sides – to grate a chunk of cheese or carrots, to finely grate lemon zest
5. Colander – to strain water from cooked pasta, strain liquid from canned beans, drain extra juice from pickles
Kitchen tools can be fun, too. Here’s a video with Chef Sara Moulton you will enjoy!
Every Day Ideas for a Healthy Kitchen
Be sure to LIKE my facebook page and read my past blogs for new ideas to help you win in your kitchen.
My Mediterranean recipe combines chicken, frozen butternut squash, chick peas, olives, garlic, tomatoes and spices over couscous.
Slow Cooker Meals Use Simple Ingredients
Do you have a slow cooker in your kitchen tool box? If you do, there are homemade flavors at low to medium cost awaiting you. Many slow cooker recipes are easy and easy to find.
Flavors of the World Suit a Slow Cooker
The world offers cuisines with amazing flavors. For example, my slow cooker recipe shown at the left, features Mediterranean flavors with characteristic ingredients. I also love the traditional flavors of Mexico and they typically include fresh lime juice, chili powder, garlic and cumin. Korean cuisine is another favorite with its soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds or oil, sugar and hot pepper flakes.
Exotic Flavors Wake Up Taste Buds & Excite the Family
There are good reasons to ‘spice up’ your meal table and try something new. World flavors and recipes await you and your family and they include Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Mexican and more. You may be surprised that even kids embrace something that gets your family out of a ho-hum dinner rut!
More Homemade Ideas for a Healthy Kitchen
Join me for tiny tips and simple recipes that will help you turn your kitchen around with healthier, homemade flavors. Simply LIKE me on facebook and join the conversation.
Tomatoes, tomato puree or tomato paste add flavor and color to homemade soup!
Warming Up with Soup!
When I want to warm up, my ‘go to’ is soup. What about you? There are childhood favorites like chicken-noodle or beef and barley. There are more adult flavors like lentil soup or mushroom soup. But, no matter what meal or snack, soup can be your healthy and delicious solution!
January is Soup Month!
January is Soup Month and that means it’s time to get out your pot and ladle. Soup can come in a can, but it can also be made easily with a few basic staple foods on hand. It’s a great time to step out, armed with your soup staples and reap the tasty, warm benefits.
A Soup Shopping List!
Fresh veg: garlic, celery, carrots, parsley, potatoes (potato soup), mushrooms (mushroom soup)
Fresh meat/poultry: lean beef steak, skinless turkey or chicken
Dry: vegetable oil, brown rice, orzo, dry beans or lentils or green split peas, chicken or beef broth, tomatoes – crushed or cut pieces, dried herbs and spices
Frozen: mixed vegetables, corn kernels, soybeans
Everyday Simple Meals and Kitchen Solutions for You!
For a great starter set of resources, look at my e-book of menu plans, breakfast-lunch-dinner recipes and side items. You can buy all 3 books for only $20 and begin experiencing a more organized and healthful kitchen and meal table right away.
My car's passenger seat is full of good nutrition!
1. Look at what I bought at my local Farmer’s Market yesterday.
2. Try to name everything.
3. Try to work each fruit/veggie into a healthy meal or snack.
1. Fresh fruits can be a part of breakfast, lunch or dinner…or, a snack. One easy way to prepare them is to wash in cold tap water, peel (depending on the fruit) and eat.
2. Fresh veggies can be eaten raw, in most cases, or cooked. One easy way to cook them is to wash in cold tap water, cut and microwave.
Solution to the Game (left to right):
1. Santa Rosa Plums – Very sweet and a tiny bit tart. Wash and eat for dessert.
2. Athena Cantaloupe – Sweet, juicy and flavorful. Wash, peel and eat as a refreshing snack.
3. Jimmy Nardello Peppers – Sweet, not hot, flavorful peppers. Wash and cut into a pasta salad for lunch or dinner.
4. Aristocrat Zucchini – Mild, fresh squash flavor. Wash, slice lengthwise and grill with a little olive oil for dinner.
5. Elephant Garlic – Mild flavor with large cloves. Peel and mince, then sprinkle onto a homemade pizza for lunch.
Looking for more help? LIKE me on Facebook for everyday solutions to a healthier kitchen!
Fresh blueberries are easy to grow & fun to eat!
Blueberry Nutrition is Awesome
No doubt about it – there is a ton of good nutrition in blueberries. Fresh ones from your backyard or the local Farmer’s Market taste best; however, even the frozen store brand at your grocery store are loaded with awesome nutrition. In one cup (fresh or frozen), there are only 85 calories, 4 grams fiber and 1 gram protein. All this comes without any fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol or sodium. Sound good? What’s even better is that hiding beneath its great nutrition is powerful antioxidant value in every serving of blueberries. To learn about selection and storage, click here.
Now, on to your kitchen…
Simple & Delicious Recipe for Blueberry Pancakes
Heart Smart Bisquick – 3 cups; Whole wheat flour – 1 cup; 1% Low fat milk – 2 1/2 cups; Large eggs – 2; Blueberries – 1 cup. Mix all ingredients together , adding blueberries last. Do not over-mix. Heat a flat skillet to medium and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray. Add batter to heated skillet using a soup ladle or large spoon. Cook about 3 – 4 minutes per side until pancakes are golden. Top with a little syrup or powdered sugar.
Shopping List for Blueberry Pancakes
Heart Smart Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix + Whole wheat flour + 1% Low fat milk + Large eggs + Blueberries + Syrup
A simple, balanced meal begins here.
Nutritious Eating Advice for Americans is New!
Just last week, America was introduced to a new concept of nutritious eating. The Choose My Plate concept replaces My Pyramid and the Food Guide Pyramid. The picture is new, yes, though the importance of putting together a simple plate for good health is not.
Three Simple Tips to Eat Well with Choose My Plate
1. Strive for balance in your meal. This means to include a variety of protein, whole grain carbohydrates and healthful fats.
2. Cover half your meal plate with fruits and vegetables with a goal of staying out of a rut. Be courageous and try everything.
3. Think carefully about your drink. Go for water, 1% milk or a decaffeinated choice.
Growing Herbs is Easy
An easy and tasty way to jazz-up your simple, home recipes may be as close as your own backyard, or a sunny window sill. These are ideal places to start an herb garden either from seed or from inexpensive plants you buy at the local garden center. With a little care and a half-day or more dose of sunshine, everyone can grow herbs.
3 Ways to Use Herbs (see photo)
, front left, adds flavor to soup, lean meat or a cold bean salad. Pull its tiny leaves off the stem and mince them.
, rear left, adds freshness to cold shrimp salad, an omelet or vinaigrette-dressed potato salad. Chop the feathery herb.
, middle right, goes well with poultry or a quiche. Add it in a small amount because of the strong flavor.
Herbs make everything taste better!
Trusted cookbook = Successful family meals!
Eating Together as a Family
It’s time to get it together and eat meals with the family. Think of the fun…the homemade flavors…the time for relaxing. Not only that, but there is solid evidence that families who eat together are eating more nutritiously. And, kids in these families are learning all kinds of positive behaviors — everything from getting better grades in school to respecting the cook and the Earth in their daily lives.
Cookbooks Give You a Plan
Don’t be without a trusted cookbook when you are making your family dinner plan. Two favorite cookbooks of mine are written by my friend, Aviva Goldfarb, and are pictured at the right. I recommend both.
Tips for Successful Family Dinners
A few of Aviva’s tips are these:
1. Take the time to plan dinners for the week before you go to the supermarket.
2. Keep a grocery list somewhere in the kitchen where everyone can reach it so anytime a family member finishes an item they can add it to the list.
3. Keep meals simple and healthy, especially for weeknights when time is very tight. Save more complicated recipes for the weekend or when the kids are grown!
4. Make family dinners a habit and make sure all family members contribute by helping to cook, set the table, plan the menu and/or clean up.
Now, please leave a comment with a tip or two from your experiences at the family meal table!